by Heather Bock
When Little E turned eight back in October, she knew she wanted a mermaid party. Although her friends weren’t as interested in the sea maidens, her imagination had been captivated by them. Don’t get me wrong, though–she didn’t give a second glance to the famous little one of Disney. I set out to give her an underwater experience without a drop of water, and it proved to be a lot more fun than the last party I threw. Mermaids and the ocean, after all, are prettier than Ninja Turtles and the sewer.
I cut these out by tracing a tail that I liked from the Internet, gluing a pink piece of cardstock to a shiny aquamarine piece. I added a little glitter and a cardstock cut-out of a starfish for a little detail.
This fair mermaid, drawn by Greg and colored by my mom, welcomed guests to the party.
As guests swam in, they found out their new mermaid names, put together with the sign below. I found a much more beautiful one on Etsy here, but I just made my own and changed it some. They wrote their oceanic names on name tags.
I decorated with paper fish and starfish, paper seaweed, lighthouses, ocean animals, blue ruffled crepe paper to look like waves, and hanging ruffled crepe paper.
Some of my favorite decorations were the jellyfish made out of bowls we bought at Hobby Lobby. They happened to be perfect for tying curling ribbon to let hang.
Another favorite decoration was the waterfall made out of blue and white crepe paper. The girls liked walking through it, and when we were tired of it, we tied it back like a curtain.
I loved our balloon and crepe paper octopus (idea here). He made me smile whenever I looked up at him. He stayed a lot longer than the party.
I also can’t forget the other mermaid my sweet husband drew and my mom colored for me–I like this mermaid even better than the one we had outside:
After girls had put their name tags on, they could choose to color a mermaid-themed coloring page:
…or start painting and decorating their treasure boxes–bought at Hobby Lobby. When finished with their boxes, they could take decoration shells, necklaces, and chocolate coins from the tables to fill them. These little boxes came with a place to put a picture in the top, so I used a mermaid logo and put each girl’s initials next to it so I would know which box belonged to whom.
After a few had finished, some started to make origami fish with instructions I found here. That took a little longer than I had hoped, so we never were able to finish them.
Next, we played seaweed limbo to calypso music:
Then, Bubble Bop: who can keep the “bubble” up the longest. We were supposed to make the girls do crazy ocean-related challenges if the music stopped and a girl didn’t have a balloon. Here are the challenges we planned, but we didn’t do it because I received a call at that moment and couldn’t direct the game anymore.
- Do a crab-walk across the floor.
- Sing like a mermaid.
- Puff your cheeks out like a blow fish.
- Do five mermaid twirls.
- Scoot on the floor like an octopus
- Swim like a mermaid
- Jump in air like a dolphin
- Talk like a whale
- Move like a jellyfish
- Move like a starfish
After that, we played hide the sea creature. Several girls hid small plastic sea toys in their hands, and the others pretended to hide them. The person who was “it” had to pick the right girls to find the sea creatures.
We had a bunch of other games planned, and our chief mermaid was disappointed that we didn’t get to hold mermaid races with plastic bags wrapped around their legs as they dragged themselves across the floor to the finish line, play hot blow fish (like hot potato), or play Under the Sea Fun, where they would use a large blue sheet and have all the other girls grab a side. They would have placed a few stuffed sea creatures underneath the sheet. The girls would have shaken the sheet to create ocean waves, then one by one the girls would have ducked under the sheet, grabbed a sea creature and thrown it on top of the waves.
She also had planned for us to play a sea monster game: one child is the sea monster and stands at one end of the yard with the others at the other end. The kids yell, “Sea Monster, Sea Monster, are you hungry?” to which the sea monster will say, “No, come closer.” All come a little closer and ask again and again until the sea monster finally answers, “Yes!” At this point she tries to tag as many as possible, and they become sea monsters, too.
We had even planned Wacky Tag, with the girls playing tag while an adult calls out ocean-related actions. They have to play tag while doing the different actions:
- Swim like a fish
- Move like an eel
- Act like a flying fish
- Swoop like a seagull
- Crawl like a crab
- Jump like an Orca
- Move like a seahorse
- Twirl like a mermaid
- Fly like a flying fish
- Move like a shark
We didn’t have time to do these games because it was time for drinks, snacks, cake, and presents already!
Our drinks were regular water and ocean water:
For snacks, we had driftwood pretzels, coral reef Cheetos, oyster shell cookies, crab leg carrots, sea cucumbers, starfish cheese and crackers, fish and chips, fresh water fish pretzel rods, and seaweed grapes on skewers. By the way, I found the mermaid tail on my signs after a Google search, but I never did find the original, so I’m not sure who to credit for it.
My kids helped me make the oyster shells out of vanilla wafers (idea taken from here), piped-out buttercream frosting, and Wilton pearls. They helped me dip the pretzel rods in melted wafers and placed the goldfish and sprinkle bubbles.
Little E wanted an ice cream cake, so I molded ice cream into a bowl and used it as filling between two layers of cake. I made the coral decoration from white melting chips dyed coral, piped onto wax paper placed over an illustration of coral I liked. It did break pretty easily as I tried to place it, but it worked out in the end.
After the presents were opened, girls packed up their treasure boxes filled with necklaces, chocolate coins, and shells and swam home!